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Caprices (review)

Caprices (review) Island, where he works for the American sewage-treatment plant. Due to a series of mishaps and cultural collisions, Rujen, a highly respected Marshallese, discovers serious flaws in his carefully constructed conservatism and what he had perceived as a tolerable level of acceptance by the American community. Shadowing the events of the day are the spirit of the family's dead grandfather (a rebel who never accepted American authority) and a lively cast of modernized gods, demons, and dwarves whose power dramas invisibly determine the course of the day's events for the protagonists. Robert Barclay vividly describes the crowded, slumlike island Ebeye, where young Marshallese commit suicide at an alarming rate, and the push and pull of American jobs and culture on a people who have been relocated and forced into dependence on foreigners. All of the characters-- the Marshallese, the members of their spirit world, and even the Americans--are well developed and deeply, sensitively drawn. laura lent Caprices by Sabina Murray. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002. 210 pages, paper $13. Caprices is a collection of short stories set in the Philippines, New Guinea, Australia, and Thailand--in jungles, prison camps, and villages with the World War ii campaign in the Pacific as historical backdrop. In spare (not stark), richly imaginative prose, Sabina Murray takes us into the minds of men, and some women, struggling to survive under ghastly circumstances. I was especially impressed with the story "Walkabout," whose characters (two brothers) are part Aborigine. An interesting piece, "Position," imagines Amelia Earhart landing on Saipan and chillingly describes the island's citizenry jumping off cliffs--either suicide or prodded by Japanese soldiers. The writing is visceral and, in some passages depicting the landscape, also lyrical. This is hard-hitting, amazing stuff written by a young (34 years old) woman who, with great imaginativeness, has made good use of family stories passed on about World War ii. jeanne houston After the Quake: Stories by Haruki Murakami. Translated by Jay Rubin. New York: Knopf, 2002. 193 pages, cloth $22. In After the Quake: Stories, Haruki Murakami has invented six masterpieces loosely connected by the Kobe earthquake of 1995. In elegant prose, he combines fantasy, surrealism, comedy, and restrained emotion to tell stories of the aftermath of the disastrous quake. My favorites are "Landscape without Flatiron," "Thailand," and "Honey Pie." The first is a beautifully wrought tale of Junko, a rootless young woman who is drawn to an older suicidal artist who routinely builds structures out of driftwood and then sets fire to them on the beach. Their shared intimacy of this ritual is "warming" to Junko's heart even though the artist tells her, "When the fire goes out, you'll start feeling the cold. You'll wake up whether you want to or not." Reviews http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Manoa University of Hawai'I Press

Caprices (review)

Manoa , Volume 15 (1) – May 19, 2003

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2003 University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-943x
Publisher site
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Abstract

Island, where he works for the American sewage-treatment plant. Due to a series of mishaps and cultural collisions, Rujen, a highly respected Marshallese, discovers serious flaws in his carefully constructed conservatism and what he had perceived as a tolerable level of acceptance by the American community. Shadowing the events of the day are the spirit of the family's dead grandfather (a rebel who never accepted American authority) and a lively cast of modernized gods, demons, and dwarves whose power dramas invisibly determine the course of the day's events for the protagonists. Robert Barclay vividly describes the crowded, slumlike island Ebeye, where young Marshallese commit suicide at an alarming rate, and the push and pull of American jobs and culture on a people who have been relocated and forced into dependence on foreigners. All of the characters-- the Marshallese, the members of their spirit world, and even the Americans--are well developed and deeply, sensitively drawn. laura lent Caprices by Sabina Murray. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002. 210 pages, paper $13. Caprices is a collection of short stories set in the Philippines, New Guinea, Australia, and Thailand--in jungles, prison camps, and villages with the World War ii campaign in the Pacific as historical backdrop. In spare (not stark), richly imaginative prose, Sabina Murray takes us into the minds of men, and some women, struggling to survive under ghastly circumstances. I was especially impressed with the story "Walkabout," whose characters (two brothers) are part Aborigine. An interesting piece, "Position," imagines Amelia Earhart landing on Saipan and chillingly describes the island's citizenry jumping off cliffs--either suicide or prodded by Japanese soldiers. The writing is visceral and, in some passages depicting the landscape, also lyrical. This is hard-hitting, amazing stuff written by a young (34 years old) woman who, with great imaginativeness, has made good use of family stories passed on about World War ii. jeanne houston After the Quake: Stories by Haruki Murakami. Translated by Jay Rubin. New York: Knopf, 2002. 193 pages, cloth $22. In After the Quake: Stories, Haruki Murakami has invented six masterpieces loosely connected by the Kobe earthquake of 1995. In elegant prose, he combines fantasy, surrealism, comedy, and restrained emotion to tell stories of the aftermath of the disastrous quake. My favorites are "Landscape without Flatiron," "Thailand," and "Honey Pie." The first is a beautifully wrought tale of Junko, a rootless young woman who is drawn to an older suicidal artist who routinely builds structures out of driftwood and then sets fire to them on the beach. Their shared intimacy of this ritual is "warming" to Junko's heart even though the artist tells her, "When the fire goes out, you'll start feeling the cold. You'll wake up whether you want to or not." Reviews

Journal

ManoaUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: May 19, 2003

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